I was very sad to learn, this morning, of the unexpectedly early death of Pat DiNizio of the Smithereens at age 62. The cause of death was not disclosed.
I first heard the Smithereens -- above, as captured by Michael Ochs on the corner of Mulberry & Prince Streets in SoHo -- in the spring of 1986 via their brooding single, “Blood and Roses,” and the album that spawned it, Especially for You, quickly became the soundtrack to that following summer, packed with amazing singles like “Behind the Wall of Sleep,” “Only a Memory” and the planegent “In a Lonely Place.” As I mentioned in the obit I penned for the job, Pat wrote taut, emotionally resonant songs that were both retro-leaning and punk-informed, walking a compelling line between melodic pop and guitar-driven edge.
In the wake of that record, they actually came and played at my college, arguably one of the more rocking acts to ever grace the campus (Denison University was usually more predisposed to the higgy jam band set, unfortunately). I particularly remember a spirited, punky sprint through “One After 909” by ye olde Beatles.
Their heyday came and went, and they released a few more great records, but they never really broke through to the big time, so to speak. That said, they never stopped recording and touring.
I don’t know the circumstances of Pat’s death, but I’d heard some rumors of some life-difficulties he’d been grappling with. Here’s hoping he’s resting easy now.
Pour one out for Pat. Gone too soon.
This one was always my favorite...